I talked to Debbie Sidwell and some of her colleagues last week. They work for NFU Mutual and I wanted to know what might attract students to a career in the insurance industry. They’re pretty clear that there are some great opportunities for progression in a varied and exciting industry, so here’s a snapshot of some of the things NFU has to offer.
Recent Politics graduate recruit, Luke Varney, feels that his job satisfies his need to feel that he is doing a role which is socially responsible:
“Insurance adds many values to the economy that people don’t understand or appreciate. It obviates the need for organisations to keep large cash “cushions” enabling investment which stimulates the economy. At the end of the day when claims are paid out, you know you are directly helping both individuals and companies. It’s a good feeling when a claim is approved.”
Huw Price, a Business graduate, who has recently joined NFU likes the fact that NFU is ethics driven and still recalls its farming roots, even though its products are now much wider than just those associated with the countryside. Huw says:
“It’s exciting to be part of a company with close links to agriculture. There’s so much going on which is revolutionising farming, from drones to renewables, working at NFU I feel that I am at the forefront of that change.”
So, “exciting” and “socially responsible” not words I had necessarily associated with the insurance industry, Debbie Sidwell, one of the Talent Development team told me more.
“Culture” at NFU
The culture of NFU is forward thinking and one of the company’s objectives is to be “a great place to work”. Debbie feels that its unique selling point is the development and support offered to graduates. The expectation is that graduates will stay after the end of the graduate scheme and will become the leaders of the future.
There are a wide range of entry points to a career at NFU, these include Finance (for which you’ll need a minimum 2.1 degree in a numerate discipline, STEM subjects, Economics, Accounting etc.), Customer Service, Corporate, IT, Sales and Marketing all available to graduates of any discipline with a minimum 2.2 degree and the right character and enthusiasm to make a positive impact on the business. You’ll need to evidence ambition and drive, rather than any specific sector based experience. It’s great if you have some work experience, but this might have come from getting involved in running clubs and societies at university! NFU is looking for many of the same skills and attributes as other graduate employers. However, this scheme does have some features which are less common, the recruitment process will assess you on who you are and not wholly on what grades you’ve got.
You can elect to apply to more than one stream and whichever you join will see you embarking on further study for a professional qualification, CIMA, ACII, CIPD, ITIL or CIM. In addition NFU provides all its graduates with soft skills training, it’s intended to be a holistic process including sessions on personality diagnostics, presentation skills, coaching and consultancy. This should stand you in good stead for senior management.
What does NFU want in its graduates?
NFU looks for graduates wanting to take ownership of their careers and personal development. The graduate schemes run for three years and you’d find yourself working on quite high level projects across the organisation with genuine responsibility. You’ll have the opportunity to have a mentor and will work in different jobs while you’re on the graduate scheme before eventually deciding where you want to work. By this time, you should also have secured professional qualifications, you will have to study while you are working but there is a good work life balance so that the study should be manageable. Having the professional qualification will be very useful for the rest of your career.
Perhaps insurance might be worth a look?